Archive for July, 2006

Men-on-a-mission reading list

Friday, July 21st, 2006

They’re from a church in Virginia, working on hurricane Katrina relief efforts in Pass Christian, Mississippi. Since they’re covering some of the same ground (literally) as Cholene, it’s not much of a surprise that they have nice things to say about Through the Eye of the Storm.


Thursday, July 20th, 2006



CHELSEA GREEN PUBLISHING COMPANY is pleased to announce the launch of Sciencewriters Books, a new imprint to develop outstanding works of science for the general public. Sciencewriters Books will be codirected by Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan, founders of Sciencewriters, an educational partnership devoted to advancing science through enchantment in the form of the finest possible books, videos, and other media (

“We’re thrilled with this new alliance,” Margo Baldwin, publisher of the independent press announced today, “and we have no doubt this series will find an enthusiastic readership.”

Michael Ratner: What the Supreme Court Ruling Does and Does Not Do

Friday, July 14th, 2006

Can We Force our Goverment to Respect Detainees Rights?
By Michael Ratner, AlterNet
Posted on July 12, 2006

The Supreme Court has now rejected the Bush Administration’s attempts to use sham trials against detainees at Guantanamo, finding such trials not only violate American law, but also the Geneva Conventions. The case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld began when a detainee challenged the legality of the administration’s military commissions, which have only been used against a handful of detainees, but the ruling goes far beyond that. The decision not only requires due process for criminal trials at Guantanamo Bay, where hundreds of men have been detained for years without charges, but humane treatment across the globe. To stop the Bush Administration’s egregious human rights violations, the court took a historic step. The decision invoked the “fundamental protections” in the Geneva Conventions to affirm the rights to humane treatment for detainees in U.S. custody anywhere in the world.


Wilson: Day 9

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

Diane Wilson, author of An Unreasonable Woman is participating in the Troops Home Fast. She will be on an indefinite hunger strike until American troops are pulled out of Iraq. Thousands of people from around the world are participating in this rolling fast. Find out more at Here is her report from Day 9.

July 12, 2006

Holding this water bottle pretty close. I try not to use a different plastic bottle every day and end up polluting the earth with more trash. We’ve got enough landfills. The car that has the water jugs is out at the capitol so I’ve got an empty water bottle. Oh well, so much for drinking water. Dick Gregory, the legendary faster and our official ‘doctor’ said drink at least a gallon of water a day and I certainly don’t do that. Probably more like 2 pints. Maybe that’s the reason my voice gets lower and lower; its gotta be a water issue there.

Oil Consumption

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

So despite all the talk of higher prices, gasoline consumption in the U.S. seems to be pretty well unaffected overall.

The blue represents weekly averages; red represents a moving 3-month average; black represents a 6th-order polynomial regression.

I should probably go back to work.

Back in the dismal news business

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

You thought I’d forgotten that we’re all doomed, eh? Well, newsflash! some of us are more doomed than others:

Published on Thursday, July 13, 2006 by the Independent / UK
Global Warming ‘Will Cancel out Western Aid and Devastate Africa’
by Andrew Grice

Climate change could have a devastating impact on Africa, wiping out all the benefits from the measures to help the continent agreed by the world’s richest nations last year.

The warning will be issued by the British Government today when it announces plans to bring poor countries into the next round of international discussions to combat global warming.

The serious threat posed to the developing world will be highlighted when Hilary Benn, the Secretary of State for International Development, publishes his first White Paper setting out his department’s strategy. It will warn that people in poor nations, while producing much lower carbon emissions than rich countries, could be the biggest victims of climate change.


They don’t put dollar signs in the article (nor British pound signs), but since so much of the footdragging on climate change is claimed in the name of avoiding large costs, we’ve got to point out that here we’re talking about many tens of billions, probably many hundreds of billions of dollars worth of damage. Wouldn’t it be just a little smarter and a little more ethical to spend that money up front in ways that reduces suffering? Or would the naysayers rather let them eat cake?

The Other Peak Oil

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

I got a funny email from the SolarBus list serve, about “Peak Vegetable Oil.” The issue is that, in some parts of Vermont at least, there are enough people with vegetable oil conversions in their cars that they are starting to actively compete with one another for access to waste oil from restaurants. One of the guys on the list serve suggested starting a wvo collection co-op — absolutely the way to go. I am no particular fan of the market system, but sometimes there are supplies and demands that have got to be figured out through some method other than first-come-first-serve-and-watch-your-ass. (The laissez fairers often like to quote that philosopher guy, what’s his face, regarding his original phrase “life, liberty and property” [changed by our beloved forefathers to "pursuit of happiness," the commie pinko deists!]. They tend to ignore the fact that he also defined just property rights in a way that is not terribly conducive to most of how the economy actually works, even in the libertarian paradise. [If I'm confusing multiple philosophers into one, well, all those dead white guys look pretty similar to me.])

As I was saying… you got your pretty much fixed supply of wvo. And you got your apparently growing demand for said wvo. What’s a fair way to determing how the wvo gets distributed? It’s a valuable resource. There’re plenty of possibilities: lottery, first come first serve, auction, equal per person portions, according to some basis of need (though how that is determined is then up for grabs), etc. A co-op is a durn good idea, I’d say. Allows for some flexibility while also establishing some kind of structure that avoids all against all in tooth and claw.

Some co-ops already exist. The Vermonters should check it out and see if they can make it work for themselves.

Apropos of nothing

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006

Did I ever mention that the milk that falls into the deep crevasses of my little baby’s neck blubber smells like provolone after a couple days? How cool is that?!

Sustainable Ag and you

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006

The National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture is in the midst of an outreach campaign. Among other things, it won’t be long until the 2007 federal Ag bill comes under discussion, and the NCSA wants to be able to organize pressure on Congress for pro-sustainability stances. So give it a thought. They’ve sent out two Word documents to plug their work: Option I was written primarily for groups with an awareness of sustainable agriculture whereas Option II was written for groups less familiar with these issues.

In her own words

Monday, July 10th, 2006

Diane Wilson on her ongoing fast.

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